[OPE-L:2528] Re: Marx and Ricardo

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Mon, 17 Jun 1996 01:30:20 -0700 (PDT)

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>A reply to Paul C's ope-l 2522. The "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics"
> (Four words, four lies, as Castoriadis put it) had the same dominating
> motive for production as in private-property capitalism: production for
> production's sake, i.e., not production to satisfy human needs, even those
> of the exploiters, but the self-expansion of wealth in the abstract. Stalin
> indeed stated that catching up to and outdistancing the "capitalist" countries
> was his goal.

If it were the case that the Soviet economic system was characterised by
production for production's sake, then that would certainly distinguish it
very clearly from capitalism.

Under capitalism, when production occurs it is not an end in itself but as
a means to an end, - the appropriation of private profit. When firms believe
that the level of profit will be insufficient, they cut back on production
and we have a general slump. With the exception of Hobsbawms 'Golden Era',
the characteristic feature of 20th century capitalist metropolises has been
their failure to develop production to its full potential. Firms normally
operate at well under full capacity, and there is substantial unused productive
capacity represented by millions of unemployed.

Paul Cockshott